Vertical Harvest is shaping a new model of civic infrastructure in the U.S. with urban indoor vertical farms co-located with affordable housing all while creating jobs for the underemployed
Vertical Harvest, Inc., a hydroponic, vertical farming company based in Jackson, Wyoming, today announced the closing of an $8.35 million Series A preferred stock investment.
The round, led by food innovation-focused venture capital fund Nicoya AB (publ) of Stockholm, Sweden, and Raiven Capital of Toronto, Canada, also included Björn Öste, a plant-based food pioneer, and Mike Krupka, Partner, BainCapital Ventures. Björn Öste; Paul Dugsin, co-founding General Partner, Raiven Capital; and Christopher Slim, CEO, Nicoya, will join the board along with Nona Yehia, CEO, Vertical Harvest; and Gingee Prince, Chief Impact Officer, Enhanced Capital.
The Series A comes as the company is poised to scale, breaking ground on its second U.S. location in Maine this spring. New locations and partnerships will be announced in the coming months.
Vertical Harvest will be a network of local farms first, and an inclusive employer especially. With its Grow Well model, a customized employment program for people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities, the company is removing barriers to meaningful employment, changing lives and fostering independence. This social mission is Vertical Harvest's competitive advantage as it aligns with the priorities of civic leaders in the U.S. and around the world.
Additionally, the team continues to forge new roads into public/private partnerships by re-imagining civic infrastructure to include food production and by co-locating farms with housing, parking, retail and other community spaces. All of this offers a new way of integrating local food systems into larger initiatives around climate resilience, smart city innovations and nutrition security.
Nona Yehia, CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest, stated, "We are changing the world by focusing on creating beautiful buildings in urban environments that provide community renewal, jobs and life training for people who are employment-challenged and nutritious food that is local, fresh and better tasting. We will do this all while generating good returns for our shareholders."
Investor and new board member Björn Öste, co-founder of Oatly, commented, "I am truly excited about the opportunity to build a great company that will not only be a large, highly profitable enterprise but one that will also change the way people think about food and jobs for the underserved in urban settings."
"Vertical hydroponic farming in urban areas will revolutionize the farming industry in the coming decades. Nona and Vertical Harvest will play an important part in this transformation," said Christopher Slim, CEO at Nicoya.
"Vertical Harvest's business plan and social impact were already worthy of investment," said Paul Dugsin, General Partner at Raiven Capital. "We are inspired by the team, as well as impressed with the R+D efforts that set the company apart in the controlled environment agtech space. The use of AI to optimize decision making — seed to sale — are value-enhancing."
For more information, please follow @verticalharvestfarms on Instagram and Facebook, and visit www.verticalharvestfarms.com.
About Vertical Harvest Farms:
Vertical Harvest is a hydroponic, vertical farming company dedicated to sustainable farms, food and futures. In addition to our passion for local, healthy food grown sustainably, Vertical Harvest also operates on an inclusive employment model. Our farms are designed for accessibility and staffed via hiring practices developed for people with disabilities, and our mission is to energize local food economies by using food as a medium for meaningful change. As we bring food production back to the city, we are partnering with civic leaders and local developers to co-locate our farms with affordable housing, bolster local green energy efforts, keep dollars in-community longer and reestablish people's connection to their farmers and the fresh, flavorful, food we grow.
Our farms grow 365 days a year and operate as innovative urban models for growing fresh food while delivering substantial social impact. The first of these, a state-of-the-art, three-story hydroponic farm in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was the first of its kind in North America. Our second location will be in Westbrook, Maine, which breaks ground in Spring 2022, and we are excited to expand to a city near you. For anyone interested in bringing Vertical Harvest to their city, check out some recent press, as well as a PBS documentary on Vertical Harvest called Hearts of Glass: https://www.heartsofglassfilm.com/.
About Nicoya Capital:
Nicoya, founded in 2017, is a Swedish investment company within food tech and the next generation of food. Nicoya's objective is, through investments, to further accelerate the changes needed within the food system to create better food for both people and the planet. Its management and founder team has broad experience from within the food and FMCG markets, as well as the financial markets. Its current portfolio consists of 13 companies including brands such as NICK's (better-for-you confectionary and ice cream), Oatlaws (clean-label performance snacking), El Taco Truck (vegan Mexican food), Inika Superfoods (DTC wellbeing & lifestyle foods) and Foodiq (disruptive manufacturing platform for next-generation foods). Read more at nicoya.se.
About Raiven Capital:
Raiven Capital is a global early-stage Series A technology venture fund with roots in both Silicon Valley and Toronto. Raiven Capital focuses on opportunities in artificial intelligence, DLT and the Internet of Things. Raiven actively seeks passionate founders developing companies that optimize value chains across cybersecurity, finance, energy, environment, health, and food sectors. Once growth is robust, Raiven exits its portfolio companies to later-stage capital in Silicon Valley and beyond. Read more at raivencapital.com.